The floods in Iowa

Our hearts go out to the people, including friends, in Iowa this week. We lived in Iowa City for seven years, and still consider it home. Seeing the pictures, reading the stories, it has been wrenching. While nobody we know has been displaced, everyone we know has been affected. We wish them the best of good fortune and goodwill in the coming recovery.

Below is a picture of the Danforth Chapel, on the University of Iowa campus, where we got married. Hundred of volunteers worked tirelessly to keep it (and surrounding buildings) in as good a shape as it is in. Thank you.

(Here is the original link)

Danforth Chapel

Time to buy: an LCD Monitor

Okay folks, WWDC is come and gone, and it is time to take the next step in the Home Computing Master Plan. First up, the Mac mini, external storage, external monitor package. The first two are easy, but the last is proving a bit of a headache, so I thought I’d post about it.

I am deliberating between three (well, two) 24″ lcd monitors.

23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display – $799.00 My favorite because it is Apple, and the screen is supposed to be delightful. But it is expensive, and tech specs-wise it seems to suffer by comparison. Also, no height adjustment. Now, if it had a built-in iSight camera, I’d be sold. But Apple is clearly not listening to me. Specs: 14ms response; 700:1 contrast; 400 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.258 mm pixel pitch; DVI. Bonus: USB hub, FW 400 BenQ FP241W – $669.00 This monitor has gotten some favorable reviews lately (as have the others) and comes with a couple of interesting features, too, like the rotating screen and the picture-in-picture (for more than one input). Of note, one review said if one input is digital, the other must be analog (boo!). Specs: 6ms response; 1000:1 contrast; 500 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.270 mm pixel pitch; HDMI, DVI, etc. Bonus: Pivot (to portrait), swivel, Picture-in-Picture Dell UltraSharp 2408 WFP – $619.00 A CNET Editor’s Choice. Dell actually has a good history with lcd screens, and this is supposed to continue that. Cheap (and that makes me nervous, but when is anything not on sale at Dell?) and new. But there are a ton of reviews out there, and even on Dell’s site (incl. some not-so-favorable ones), which is more than can be said for the BenQ. Specs: 6ms response; 1300:1 contrast; 400 cd/m2; 178° view; 0.250 mm pixel pitch, HDMI, DVI, etc. Bonus: USB hub, card reader, Pivot, Swivel, PiP, the Kitchen Sink

One thing to keep in mind while you’re looking at lcds is the relative quality of the panel part. One indicator of that is whether the panel is 6-bit, or 8-bit, and one way to tell that, is by the viewing angle. If the viewing angle is 160°, then you have a 6-bit panel. If it is more like 178°, it’s an 8-bit. I think.

In any case, looking at the specs above, it is easy to dismiss the Apple screen, however high the quality might be. Between the BenQ and the Dell, well… the sheer number of reviews, the price, and my own personal history with Dell monitors (I bought a lot of them when I was running a computer lab, many moons ago) makes me lean that way.

I think I’ll be getting the Dell. Dude.

Your thoughts?

Is Steve Jobs really sick?

Okay, so compare these two photos. The first one is from Macworld, in January 2007. The second is from yesterday, at WWDC. It would appear that Steve Jobs is wasting away. Tell me it doesn’t strike fear into you. I mean, aside from the personal issues that Steve and his family must be experiencing with his health…

Steve Jobs at Macworld 2007Steve Jobs at WWDC 2008

I have always known that I would live to see Apple without Steve Jobs at the helm (actually, I did live through the Gil Amelio days, just barely), but the thought of it actually happening frightens the bejeezus out of me.

Anyone else find these pictures striking and worrisome? Anyone know any details?

Tell Hillary what you think she should do now

In her frustrating speech last night, Hillary Clinton asked her supporters to go to her web site and tell her what she should do next. I almost did that (and you can imagine what I would have told her she should do), but noticed at the last minute that the form says, “Skip signup and go to,” at the bottom. So, if you don’t mind getting email from Hillary, be my guest. Tell her what she should do.

We’re in diet detox

This weekend we went to Borders, here in town, and bought two South Beach Diet books (the Book, and a cookbook).  In reading the Book of them, it became clear to us that we eat too much of some bad stuff, mostly refined sugar and processed carbs.  Or, as I like to think of them, Pop Tarts.

So, on Monday, we began the South Beach Diet.  Here’s the gist.  For two weeks—what they describe as detox—you eat no refined sugar, and no carbs.  All salad, lean meats, eggs, and a wee bit of cheese.  Then, after those two weeks, you start to re-introduce your body to the good stuff, a little bread, a little pasta, maybe a little sugar, here and there.  Everybody online says the first three days are hard.

And I’m here to tell you: hell yeah.  I’m not hungry, mind you.  The fridge full of romaine, boston lettuce, bell peppers, celery, scallions, and tomatoes sees to that.  But I feel… unsatisfied.  Tiffany described it as the feeling she has when she drinks a lot of water, and I know exactly what she means.  Like I’m full of nothing.

Plus, I really miss is the time I used to have to… I don’t know, do anything but cook.  The SBD is full of good green stuff, which means it costs a hell of a lot at the store, and we spend every waking moment preparing food.  Mornings used to be about pouring cereal.  Now we actually have to prep the night before, and cook the morning of.  And while dinner is not much more work, after dinner is the killer.  We used to put the kids down and then do some work (during the semester Tiffany always brought work home), have a snack, maybe watch some TV, pay bills, catch up on email… now we put the kids down and we cook.  In addition to having just cooked a dinner, we now wash the dinner dishes, make lunch for the next day (last night we cooked shrimp, cut up salad, made jello, and would have made a dressing from scratch, but we gave up), prep anything for breakfast (last night we cut up mushrooms), and then wash dishes again.  And by then it is 10 pm or later, which means we go straight to bed or we stay up and get five hours of sleep.

Something is going to have to give.  We’re going to try our best to hold on these first two weeks of detox, but it had better get easier.

Oh, and two results to report so far: In about 58 hours so far on the diet, I’ve lost 1.5 pounds, and pooped zero times.  I’m sure you needed to know that.

Oh please, do.

It is starting to look like Hillary is getting ready to drop out, according to this list over at Political Insider.  Oh please, please, please.  I’d really like this nomination to be decided before I go visit my family the last week in June.  I think a number of them have been (and still may be) Hillary Clinton supporters.  Again, I reiterate, it isn’t that I didn’t like Clinton, or that I didn’t think she’d make a fine President.  It’s that I liked another guy better, and then Clinton started doing anything to try to win.  And some of the things she did turned me off.